Hamble College, through the work of Kristian Still, was the first school to pilot a Digital Leaders Programme.
First a Digital Media Gaming Club was set up. This was held every Wednesday afternoon with a slant towards i-media and gaming. It was very attractive to boys, so to compensate, girls were actively encouraged and targeted to join, emphasising the i-media (not suggesting girls do not like network gaming).
Each week started with an hour of innovative and exciting digital media exploration and activities such as image manipulation, programming and animation, often just out of reach of the taught curriculum. This has now been revised to two 40min sessions. The second hour was dedicated to network gaming using tested morgueware (games no longer under copyright) with either design, strategy or collaboration at its core. The balance of ICT and gaming is still under review. Andrew Sangster sourced and provide a range of morgueware, wrapped in a control menu system only available outside curriculum time or when permitted. Always growing, the menu system now includes over 20 titles.
Next, Digital Leader positions were advertised through the DMGC and the normal school communication channels, students email and mentor bulletins and through targeting key students. Applications were only received digitally. A number of workshop activities were used to showcase, trial and advertise new software, for example Comic Life, preparing students to support staff in using ICTAC (ICT across the curriculum). They also provided an opportunity to extend learning for the gifted and talented students, an addition to extension activities in class.
The original inspiration for this project was Gen Y, especially GenYES (students helping teachers with classroom technology) and TechYES (student technology literacy certification and peer mentoring). The aim was to develop a students' training programme, introducing the Digital Leaders to the College VLE in an effort to facilitate staff CPD.
The overall aim was to connect teachers with students through a passion for technology. The cornerstones of the programme were:
- Exclusive role but open to all students
- Mixed year group access (reducing commitment in examination years)
- Mixed gender
- Shape ICT in school
With the help of colleagues and joined-up-thinking, Still feels they have made real progress against the following goals:
- Improve ICT attainment in KS3 and KS OCR Nationals
- Building positive relationships and improve student behaviour in ICT (a key focus was low achieving boys)
- Disperse ICTAC, specifically showcasing, trailing and advertising new software for cross curricular use through students examples
- ICT CPD through the subsidiary Gen Y training programme
- Opportunities to recognise ICT for Gifted and Talented